On management

In my experience, three things take almost equal shares of time in getting a product to market in SL:

  1. Development and debugging to get the thing to work as designed,
  2. Making it all pretty so it’s actually pleasant to use,
  3. Packaging, writing manuals and setting up vendors and XStreet.

The annoying part is that while development and debugging is more or less linearly dependent on how complex the product is, making it pretty and packaging takes time that cannot be effectively reduced. Most of this work cannot be effectively delegated, except the third stage, in particular, setting up vendors.

And, well, the latter third is the most problematic and annoying part of the whole thing, I have lots of things almost ready for release because they got stuck on the second or third stage. Most of this work cannot be delegated, just like a lot of customer support cannot be.

For much of it, though, there’s no technological reasons why it could not be delegated. Some stores employ the concept of store alts, which are a crude equivalent of incorporating a business – but it’s a) too crude, and b) against TOS as written, because you are not allowed to share an avatar account. There is, essentially, no legal support for incorporation.

Previously, when XStreet had a separate account structure, a certain degree of management could be achieved by sharing an XStreet account — it’s safe if you don’t misplace your PayPal password, and since everything is logged nicely, any misappropriation of funds or stock is easy to catch, it’s even less dangerous than giving someone the keys to the warehouse.

Well, now you can’t do it, because XStreet taps into the regular avatar account structure. Hippo recently went out with a Manager feature, where you can delegate access to quite granular parts of the web side of the system for an extra fee, which solves the problem for the part I wanted it to be solved (Some important things done by managers do not get logged, which makes it’s usefulness rather limited, it was enough for me but might not be enough for you…) — but having the same for XStreet would be mighty useful and easy enough to implement.

And we aren’t getting it now that XStreet is owned by LL. Fun.